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Wednesday, May 22, 2002

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Students feel `cheated' by Pentamedia

Raja Simhan T.E.

In October last too, about 40 project trainees registered a criminal complaint with the central crime branch against the company for not providing placements in the firm, says an advocate notice.


AN advocate notice has been sent to Pentamedia Graphics on behalf of 20-odd trainees who feel that they have been denied placement in the firm, even after successfully completing the company-run course.

Pentamedia trained the students as professionals in the company. In October last too, about 40 project trainees registered a criminal complaint with the central crime branch against the company for not providing placements in the firm, says an advocate notice. The 20 students, through the notice, alleged that on the basis of Pentamedia's `assurance' for placement, they opted for the course costing Rs 98,000.

While the residential course was completed on May 18, 2001, the company did not provide the training for the candidates immediately and they were asked to wait till October. Even after that, the company offered only Rs 2,500 as stipend and not Rs 6,500 as agreed upon initially, says the notice.

The 20 students paid the fees and got the receipt from the company for Rs 5,000 (non-refundable) as registration fee and the rest was for the course fee. While "non-refundable" was endorsed in the Rs 5,000 receipt, there was no such endorsement in the receipt for Rs 93,000.

The candidates were made to understand that Rs 93,000 was for the entire course with job placement, and if the placement was not given, the company need to return the collected amount after deducting a reasonable charges earmarked for the training only, the advocate notice says.

Pentamedia's advocates replying to the notice said, the company at no stage, either in the advertisement or elsewhere, ever made a promise to the students for recruitment by the company.

In other words, the advertisement sought to convey that a person who is trained by the company should have 100 per cent chances in the opinion of the company of obtaining a placement in the industry.

"We are emphasising this aspect, as the entire gamut of the submissions in your notice proceeds on the erroneous assumption and interpretation of the advertisement that the company promised recruitment for the students upon successful completion of a course. At the risk of repetition we must indicate that it was merely an opinion expressed by the company about the utility of a course in Web content designing," Pentamedia's advocates said in the reply.

A company official, when asked for a reaction on the case, said, "the group of students was working in the Kodambakkam (in the city) centre and when Pentamedia decided to shift base to Kelambakkam (city outskirts) centre, there was resistance."

When asked whether Pentamedia offered cash settlement (of about Rs 30,000) with another, earlier batch of 40-odd students who filed a criminal complaint against the company on similar grounds, the official said the course was discontinued and the company repaid the amount collected. "There was no settlement," she added.

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